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The Politics of Race

I get very tired of the subject of race being treated as a political or sociological matter -- exclusively.  I understand that this is part and parcel of the modern mindset, which reduces humanity to its constituent blocs.  Each man or woman is only significant as the representative of the mass of similarly-colored or -gendered people.  So the media speaks of "the black vote," "the hispanic community," etc., as if your color dictates your beliefs. But this is profoundly anti-democratic and non-Christian.  One aspect of the course of Western civilization was the development of a democratic polity that freed people from the narrow blinders of race and sex.  A "higher" society could be built  -- educated, moral, just -- based on shared values, rather than rival genealogies. 

But what has happened in the last generation is that the values, and the commonwealth, have degenerated into competing racial and sexual cliques.  Being female or a minority, or both, is a mark of distinction, and contains both ethical and political imperatives (to believe and vote according to one's group, and against the male or majority position).

The Bible offers an alternative to this herd mentality.  Race is treated from the standpoint of God's purposes in history.  No race is autonomous, self-determined, or self-justified.  Race relations are no longer understood in the context of mere "civil rights," but in the far greater greater significance of divine purpose: I am my brother's keeper.

If we applied the secular treatment of race to the family unit, it would be like considering only the sibling relationships and omitting the parents completely.  By contrast, the Biblical view understands a family (or race) as a purposeful construction of parents (God), who retain authority over each of the children and who threaten to punish their mistreatment of one another. If one child blackens the eye of another, he will have to render account to his father.  This is a lot more serious matter than just violating someone's civil rights.

Ultimately, these two views of humanity, and of race, must come into conflict with each other. The current predominance of the political view is no argument in its favor, however, if it multiplies conflict among the races.  In fact, the persistence of racial conflict should cause us to look with greater seriousness at the Bible's treatment of this crucial subject.   Because -- if the Bible's view of race is right, no amount of political manipulation and educational propaganda will lead to racial peace.

 For the origin of the term "my brother's keeper," go to

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